AN URGENT CALL FOR PEACE

“Unity Statement for Resumption of Peace Talks jointly sponsored by the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform, Kapayapaan Movement for a Just and Lasting Peace, IFI Peacemakers, JPIC-Missionary Benedictine Sisters, Daughters of Charity-JPICC and Pilgrims for Peace.”


Assembly for Peace
JANUARY 17, 2020
Quezon City

ONCE MORE, OUR HOPES FOR A PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF THE ARMED CONFLICT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES (GRP) AND THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES (NDFP) HAS SPRUNG. WITH BOTH PARTIES AGAIN EXPRESSING WILLINGNESS TO RESUME THE STALLED PEACE TALKS.

THE RECENT HOLIDAY TRUCE, WHICH LASTED FROM DECEMBER 23 TO JANUARY 7, WAS A POSITIVE STEP TOWARDS RESTORING TRUST AND CONFIDENCE BETWEEN THE TWO PARTIES. WELCOME PRES. RODRIGO DUTERTE’S APPOINTMENT OF EXECUTIVE SECRETARY SALVADOR MEDALDEA AS GRP PEACE NEGOTIATOR. WE HOPE HE WILL REINSTATE THE GRP PEACE PANEL SOON AND UNDERTAKE THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS AS A CONFIDENCE BUILDING MEASURE.

PREVIOUS ROUNDS OF TALKS HAVE SHOWN THAT BILATERAL AGREEMENTS ON SUBSTANTIVE AGENDA LEADING TO A NEGOTIATED POLITICAL SETTLEMENT CAN BE REACHED BETWEEN THE PARTIES. IN 1999, THE GRP AND NDFP SIGNED THE GROUNDBREAKING COMPREHENSIVE AGREEMENT ON THE RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW (CARHRIHL).

IN 2018, AN INTERIM PEACE AGREEMENT (IPA) WAS ALREADY BEING WORKED OUT. IT CONTAINED AN AGREEMENT ON AGRARIAN REFORM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (ARRD) AS WELL AS ON NATIONAL INDUSTRIALIZAT1ON AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (NIED), A GENERAL AMNESTY FOR ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS, AND AN AGREEMENT FOR A MORE STABLE FORM OF CEASEFIRE. THE IPA WAS MEANT TO FACILITATE NEGOTIATIONS FOR THE REMAINING AGENDA ON SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC REFORMS. POLITICAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS, AND A PERMANENT CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES AND DISPOSITION OF FORCES.

TODAY, FOR THE SAKE OF OUR PEOPLE, WE CALL ON THE GRP AND THE NDFP TO GO BACK TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE TO FINISH WHAT THEY STARTED. WE URGE THEM TO PROCEED FROM WHAT HAS BEEN PREVI0USLY ACHIEVED, USING METHODS AND PROCESSES THAT ARE ALREADY IN PLACE AND SHOWN TO BE WORKING. WE REMIND THEM THAT UNREASONABLE DEMANDS AND PRECONDITONS CAN ONLY SERVE TO DERAIL THE RESUMPTION OF THE TALKS.

TO THE PEACE SPOILERS AND SABOTEURS WH0 ARE OPPOSED TO THE GRP-NDFP PEACE NEGOTIATIONS, WE SAY ENOUGH. THE PERSISTENCE OF MASS POVERTY, SOCIAL INJUSTICE AND ECONOMIC UNDERDEVELOPMENT HAS FUELED ARMED CONFLICT FOR DECADES. IT IS TIME FOR THE TWO PARTIES TO SIT DOWN ONCE MORE, FIND WAYS TO COMPROMISE AND COOPERATE IN ADDRESSING THE ROOTS OF THE ARMED CONFLICT, AND ACHIEVE A JUST AND LASTING PEACE FOR OUR PEOPLE.

LASTLY, WE CALL ON OUR PEOPLE TO PERSEVERE IN THE PATH OF PEACE AND JUSTICE. LET US SUPPORT THE RESUMPTION OF THE PEACE TALKS.

IF WE UNITE AND TIRELESSLY WORK TOGETHER FOR IT, # JUST PEACE WILL COME.

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